Remember that old game? You had to ask permission before you could take a step or repeat a phrase that “mother” directed you to do. If you forgot to say, “Mother May I?” and simply did what you were asked, you were tossed out of the game.
Query letters are a cross between that game and an audition/job interview.
A query letter proposes an article to an editor, outlines how you would do it, and then requests permission to write it and send it in. If you are known, this may mean a contract. If it is your first approach to the publication it means sending the finished piece in “on spec”, that is, on speculation, the editor is under no obligation to buy, to use, or otherwise credit you for the work you did.
The “mother may I?” part of the query is following the specific guidelines of the publication. The job interview part means knowing the publication and proposing something that its readers will enjoy.
A friend sent me this link that she values as a guide to writing a successful query letter. I did not have time today to check with the writer to see if I cold repost so I am simply sharing the link. I’ve also shared it on Facebook, for those of you who are my friend or who have liked my author page. I’ve written many successful queries but there is always something new to learn.
Here is the link: Read and Learn!
Hmmm, you will have to scroll down since there is some imbedded stuff I could not see when I copied the link.